Creative Writing Specialization

Starts Jun 05

Creative Writing Specialization

Craft Your Story Like the Great Writers

Craft an original story that will absorb a reader’s interest from the beginning to end.

About This Specialization

This Specialization covers elements of three major creative writing genres: short story, narrative essay, and memoir. You will master the techniques that good writers use to compose a bracing story, populated with memorable characters in an interesting setting, written in a fresh descriptive style. You will analyze and constructively evaluate peer writing. In the Capstone, you will draft, rewrite, and complete a substantial original story in the genre of your choosing. Our courses are designed for anyone from the aspiring short story writer to established novelist. Whether you have a finished novel sitting on your desk calling for a fresh look or have had the germ of an idea for a decade, this Specialization gives you tools to achieve your goal. Through 4 courses focused on a key aspect of writing, and taken in any order you choose, you will develop a stronger ability to not only refine your writing, but critique writing in general and find inspiration in the works you are already reading. Thanks to our sponsors, upon completion of their first assignment, learners in each course will receive up to an 80% discount from Write-Bros and a 30% discount off their first purchase from Scrivener to use on their writing software. Additionally, learners who complete an assignment will receive 30% off membership at the online writing community Scribophile. For more information about our partners, see the FAQ below.

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courses
5 courses

Follow the suggested order or choose your own.

projects
Projects

Designed to help you practice and apply the skills you learn.

certificates
Certificates

Highlight your new skills on your resume or LinkedIn.

Courses
Beginner Specialization.
No prior experience required.
  1. COURSE 1

    Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

    Upcoming session: Jun 5 — Jul 10.
    Commitment
    4 weeks of study, 1-2 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English, French

    About the Course

    In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires. We will examine the choices storytellers make to snag our imaginations, drag them into a fictional world, and keep them there. We will learn how to outline and structure a plot, discuss narrative arc, pacing and reversals and reveal the inevitable surprise: connecting the beginning, middle and end.
  2. COURSE 2

    Creative Writing: The Craft of Character

    Upcoming session: May 29 — Jul 3.
    Commitment
    4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English

    About the Course

    At the center of a good story are the characters in it. In this course aspiring writers will discover how to build and bring to life complex, vivid and unforgettable characters. We will study the choices a writer makes to bring all characters to life on the page, and we will perform written exercises in order to develop a variety of writing and pre-writing techniques, in order to create a variety of characters. We will learn how to use our own life experiences, and the people we know (and how not to!). We will develop inner (thoughts and feelings) and outer (appearance, habits, behavior) lives for our characters and see how that can lead us to richer and more interesting stories. We will breathe life into our characters and let them surprise us.
  3. COURSE 3

    Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description

    Upcoming session: Jun 5 — Jul 10.
    Commitment
    4 weeks of study, 1-3 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English

    About the Course

    In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to the techniques that masters of fiction use to ground a story in a concrete world. From the most realist settings to the most fantastical, writers will learn how to describe the physical world in sharp, sensory detail. We will also learn how to build credibility through research, and to use creative meditation exercises to deepen our own understanding of our story worlds, so that our readers can see all that we imagine.
  4. COURSE 4

    Creative Writing: The Craft of Style

    Upcoming session: Jun 5 — Jul 10.
    Commitment
    4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English

    About the Course

    Your style is as unique and distinctive as your face, your voice, except that you can choose it, you can can work on it, enhance it. In this course we will introduce aspiring writers to the art of putting pressure on written language. We will study the use of metaphor and imagery, and demonstrate how clarity, grace, and inventiveness in word choice are imperative to a story’s success. Writers will emerge with the revision skills essential to all writers of good stories and good prose.
  5. COURSE 5

    Capstone: Your Story

    Upcoming session: Jul 10 — Sep 18.
    Commitment
    7 weeks of study, 3-5 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English

    About the Capstone Project

    Everything comes together in the Capstone. You will draft a complete story, narrative essay, or memoir of 8–15 pages. With the advice of your peer readers, you will revise, rewrite, and complete it. The skills you’ve learned of plotting, setting, physical description, characterization, and stylistic clarity and innovation will culminate in an original work of art all your own. We’ll discuss the steps that professional writers take to bring their work into the public world. Along the way you’ll learn the patient habits of revision that make up the writer’s life.

Creators

  • Wesleyan University

    Wesleyan University is dedicated to providing an education in the liberal arts that is characterized by boldness, rigor, and practical idealism.

    At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.

  • Salvatore Scibona

    Salvatore Scibona

    Frank B. Weeks Visiting Professor of English
  • Amy Bloom

    Amy Bloom

    Distinguished University Writer in Residence and Director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing
  • Brando Skyhorse

    Brando Skyhorse

    Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing
  • Amity Gaige

    Amity Gaige

    Visiting Scholar in Creative Writing

FAQs

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.